Los Angeles

C. H. Hertel and Susan Lautman Hertel

Comara Gallery

In his recent paintings, C. H. Hertel turns to ancient China for his direct inspiration. The circles he explains are primarily man­dalas, cosmic diagrams; the hexagrams come from the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Divination of the Chou Dyn­n­asty. Outwardly, the relation is evident and goes even further in such pieces as Yu #2 where the general form is reminiscent of that of the ceremonial vessel. There is even a metallic patina quality to the paint and a reference to incised pattern from the use of both plastic wood and glue. How essentially Eastern the ideograms are differs wide­ly. As paintings they are more success­ful when the symbol is the most com­­plicated and the least clarified, when the color is kept to soft variations of green, light red and grey-white, and when the collage is used as a restricted element. In contrast, the small sculp­tures of Susan Lautmann Hertel have their greatest impact when they stay closest to the experiences of life. Par­ticularly expressive are the Horse Get­ting Up and the Horse Biting Foot, the Pregnant Mare and the Pregnant Dog. Usually, Susan Hertel uses bronze but she has also experimented with epoxy as a material although its texture lacks the warmth and vitality of the traditional metal. The paintings and sculptures, shown together, have re­ciprocal quality, complementing each other in an unexpected manner.

––Constance Perkins